Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Recognizing Cognitive Distortions

Read the examples below and list what ‘you’ think.

– when you make excuses for your behavior using logic and reason.
E.g. – “acting out is ok because I haven’t done it for ages which proves it isn’t an addiction” or “It’s not possible to masturbate without pornography”.

– when you use excuses to defend your behavior. E.g. “I can’t help it when I’m drunk” or “no one could resist acting out when it’s handed to them on a plate”.

– this is a thinking strategy for not taking full responsibility for your behavior or staying in denial. E.g. “I’ll only be online for 10 minutes” or “It’s not as bad as …”.

– the opposite of minimization so rather than making light of something, an event or circumstance that is relatively unimportant is given greater status. E.g. “I have had a horrendous day and I cannot cope so I need to act out” or “my partner has ridiculed and abused me and therefore it’s ok for me to soothe how I feel”.

– when you blame others for your behavior. E.g. “if my partner was more into sex I wouldn’t need to do this” or “if my work was more fulfilling I wouldn’t act out”.

– this kind of thinking often comes either from grandiosity or from self-pity and is when you find reasons to tell yourself you deserve to act out. E.g. “I need to act out because I didn’t have much sexual experience when I was younger,” or “I work extremely hard to support my family and deserve the occasional treat”.

– similar to entitlement but focuses on what you perceive as being unique about yourself or your circumstances. E.g. “I’m very successful and people would expect me to enjoy sexual variety” or “I was born with a fetish and this is the only way to satisfy it”.

Mental Filter
– this strategy is used to filter out any thoughts that might stop acting out from happening. E.g. “last time I acted out was fantastic and I didn’t have any regrets” or “My partner is totally unreasonable all the time and so I need to act out”.

Victim Stance
– when you make excuses for your behavior by putting yourself in the role of victim. E.g., “it’s not my fault I act out. I was abused as a child,” or “I have to act out when everyone is picking on me”.

– this is often used with generalization to make acting out seem like ‘the norm’. E.g. “all men look at pornography” or “it’s instinctive to want to sleep with a beautiful person, or everyone wants to be desired”.

– this is perhaps the most common cognitive distortion and simply involves blocking out reality. E.g., “My partner wouldn’t mind” or “There is nothing wrong with acting out”.

– this can be a particularly powerful cognitive distortion, especially for those with low self-esteem. E.g. I can’t help acting out, I have never had any willpower” or “I can’t help it, I’m a sex addict”.

– this refers to the times when you think you’re ‘bulletproof’. In other words, “I won’t ever get caught”, “no-one will ever know what I do” or “I won’t catch an STI”.